When you can’t hire a Canadian worker, you may be able to fill temporary labour and skills shortages through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP), both of which are operated by the Government of Canada.
To fill permanent labour shortages that cannot be filled with a Canadian or permanent resident, you can also explore the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program and Express Entry to hire or retain workers permanently.
Understanding Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
What is an LMIA?
To hire a foreign worker, employers generally need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA application ensures that Canadians have the first opportunity to apply for vacant jobs, and to assess if hiring a foreign worker will negatively impact the Canadian labour market.
In certain situations, an employer may not need to have an LMIA to hire a foreign worker as long as the worker meets the criteria for an exemption.
How does it work?
To get an LMIA, employers must submit an application and supporting documents (e.g. wage, hours of work, duration of job, proof of advertising, etc.) to ESDC. The employer must show they have a genuine need to hire a foreign worker and that they made reasonable efforts to fill the vacant position with a Canadian worker, but were unsuccessful.
Where can I learn more?
For more information on LMIAs, visit the ESDC website.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
The TFWP lets employers hire temporary workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. To start the process, you must obtain a positive LMIA, by applying with ESDC/Service Canada and pay the related fee.
Some work categories are exempt from the LMIA process. See Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) How to Hire a Temporary Foreign Worker guide.
High-wage and low-wage position streams
There are two position streams under TFWP – High-wage and Low-wage positions streams to follow when hiring temporary foreign workers. The provincial/territorial median hourly wage will help you determine which TFWP requirements the employer must meet.
- Wages below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage will be subject to all of the requirements of the Stream for Low-wage Positions;
- Wages at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage will be subject to all of the requirements of the Stream for High-wage Positions
Discover more information about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
- Learn more about how to hire a temporary worker
- How to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment
- How a temporary foreign worker can apply for a work permit
- Find out about your responsibilities when hiring a temporary foreign worker
International Mobility Program (IMP)
The International Mobility Program (IMP) lets employers hire temporary workers without an LMIA. Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on:
- broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada
- reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.
If you hire a temporary worker through the IMP, you will need to pay an employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment form to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC). This must be done before an immigrant can apply for a work permit. You will submit the offer of employment through IRCC’s Employer Portal.
Employers who have permanent labour and skills shortages, that cannot be filled with a Canadian or permanent resident, may be able to hire or retain a foreign worker permanently. Visit our retention section to find out more.
Ministerial Instruction – Refusal to Process List
The TFWP is refusing to process LMIA applications for specific occupations based on the unemployment rate. The Refusal to Process list can be modified from time to time based on the unemployment rate and economic conditions.
Date Updated: Fri, 25 Aug 2017 02:47:48